Undergraduate Program

History at WashU

The Department of History at Washington University offers history majors and minors the opportunity to develop a coherent and challenging program of study. We also encourage all undergraduates to incorporate the discipline of historical thinking into their liberal arts education. In all courses, students are taught the kinds of skills that will help them succeed both in classes at WashU and in their post-graduate careers. History students learn to read carefully, think critically, research honestly, and present information and ideas clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing.

We offer a wide variety of courses, ranging from the ancient world to the present, and across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. There are many opportunities for small-group learning and discussion, in freshman seminars, sophomore honors colloquium, writing-intensive seminars, and advanced seminars. The history major is structured to be flexible, and encourages students both to pursue established interests and to explore topics, time periods, and locales that may be less familiar.

Our department prides itself on the individual attention faculty mentors provide students. Graduates express great satisfaction with their experience in the major, mentioning in particular faculty's knowledge of the subject matter, dynamic teaching, and respect for students.

The study of history is key to becoming a well-informed, thoughtful, and effective citizen of the nation and the world. It is also fun!

The Department of History's Rhodes Scholar!

The Department of History's Rhodes Scholar!

A Student Voice: Controversy in the Classroom

A Student Voice: Controversy in the Classroom

History Careers

Photo of Georgina Glogovac, a white woman with long blond hair in a suit.


"By participating in discussions with people that had differing opinions, I learned how to listen to others, see multiple sides to an argument, and articulate my own position on a subject. These skills have come in handy both when trying to understand medical decisions from a patient's perspective and when making decisions with medical colleagues." - Dr. Georgina Glogovac (AB '14)

More about Dr. Glogovac's career
Yael Fuchs


"Big picture, my time at WashU helped teach me how to think. It may be a cliché but it's a true one. My time as a history major taught me to think about the forces that shape our society, and to think critically and skeptically about any fixed self-perception we may have as a society." - Yael Fuchs (AB '98)

Read about Fuchs's career
Black and white Photo of Denis Openlander, a white man with short cropped hair in a business suit.


"Ultimately my college education and life experiences taught me to genuinely question everything. I think it helped me to go deeper for the real source of information and ideas, and then challenge those sources of information." - Dennis Openlander (AB '06)

Read about Openlander's career

Phi Alpha Theta Honorary

Washington University's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta is committed to furthering undergraduate scholarship in the field of history, while also creating a center for intellectual exchange for members as well as faculty and graduate students. The organization is centered around professional development, historical excursions and outings, and opportunities to engage with history more deeply in a non-classroom environment.

In addition to semesterly meetings, programming, and academic opportunities, Phi Alpha Theta also publishes the Gateway History Journal, a volume of premier undergraduate scholarship from Washington University and the greater midwestern region.

Phi Alpha Theta is open to anyone who has completed twelve credit hours of history and has maintained a minimum 3.5 GPA in history, and a minimum 3.3 GPA overall. Preference is given to history majors and minors. 

More information and how to join

Undergraduate Funding

Thomas Family Internship Awards

The Thomas Family Internship Awards allow students interested in exploring career options in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to pursue summer internships. To help offset the costs of unpaid internships, the Career Center provides a limited number of stipends to qualified students.

Thomas Family Supplementary Research Award

The Thomas Family Supplementary Research Award offers supplementary funds to history majors engaged in research projects. The award offers "top up" funds to help defray the costs of research not covered by other awards such as summer research grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research or the Bemis Summer Research Scholarship in Europe. Although all students are welcome to apply, preference will be given to students with demonstrated financial need.

Washington University Office of Undergraduate Research

The Office of Undergraduate Research is the secondary on-campus resource that assists students in identifying and pursuing undergraduate research and funding opportunities. To schedule an appointment email undergadresearch@wustl.edu

Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES)

Each year, ICPES gathers more than 100 undergraduates to provide them with hands-on experience interning on Capitol Hill, federal agencies, think tanks, political groups, or international affairs organizations. In addition, ICPES students attend exclusive briefings at various sites around Washington, including the White Houe complex, the US Capitol, the Federal Reserve, the State Department, and CIA Headquarters. Additionally, students attend the Judd Lecture Series, featuring notable leaders and policy makers discussing today's critical issues.


The Fulbright program is open to graduating seniors and higher level students. Through the Fulbright program, students can pursue independent research, fund graduate study, or teach English to students of all levels.  They can also pursue specific courses of study in countries around the world. The above link provides an overview of the program, addresses frequently asked questions, and contains information you should know about the program if you are considering applying.

The Gilder Lehrman History Scholars Program

This summer program, open to sophomores and juniors and based in New York City, has been designed to both reward undergraduates who have demonstrated superb research and writing skill in the field of American history, and to provide an opportunity for the next generation of historians to engage in discussions with eminent scholars and in secondary research.


Although many of H-Net's funding announcements are geared toward graduate students or established faculty, occasionally it may be possible to identify funding sources for undergraduate study via this website.

Library of Congress - Fellowship and Internship Search Engine

FellowshipsThe Library of Congress regularly offers both paid and unpaid fellowships and internships for undergraduate students. Some are available during the summer, while others are open during the school year.


Have questions? Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Email the Director of Undergraduate Studies